DRC Danish Refugee Council has maintained certification under the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) since 2017 – which means that the organisation has ongoing independent and objective assurance that its humanitarian work is principled, accountable and high-quality.
Core Humanitarian Standard
The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) is a voluntary standard and DRC Danish Refugee Council has chosen to be certified against the CHS through a formal certification scheme.
The certification process is managed by a third-party accredited auditing body known as the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI). They provide DRC with independent and objective assurance that DRC is continuously meeting the requirements of the standard over a four-year cycle.
This is a rigorous assessment and means greater assurance for our stakeholders that we are delivering humanitarian assistance in a way that ensures quality and accountability for People of Concern.
Generally, DRC continues to maintain a very high level of performance in its application of the CHS commitments.
/ HQAI Lead Auditors, CHS Certification Renewal Audit Report August 2023
DRC has remained CHS certified since 2017
DRC has been a CHS certified organisation since 2017 following the successful completion of the initial baseline audit. Certification was granted and valid for subsequent years, providing periodic checks confirmed ongoing conformity with the standard. When undergoing audit processes, the auditors base their assessment on a policy review and interviews with DRC staff, as well as with partners, and communities at selected DRC country offices. Remote ‘light’ interviews also take place with a number of operations to triangulate findings.
Through these independent assessments on DRC’s level of CHS compliance, the organisation works systematically across different levels from the field, regions to the Headquarters to address the root causes of weaknesses identified. Being a CHS certified organisation enables DRC to continuously learn and improve and communities and the people we work with and for have the opportunity to set the agenda.
DRC’s certification is currently valid until 2025. The CHS certificate provided means that DRC has been assessed as compliant with the nine CHS commitments and is committed to addressing any non-conformities identified. DRC is entitled to describe itself as a CHS-certified organization in external communications.
In 2023, DRC successfully completed the first year of a new CHS audit cycle
From April to July 2023, DRC underwent the first phase of a new three-year HQAI CHS certification cycle known as the Renewal Audit. As usual, this was an organisational learning exercise for the entire organisation with the auditors checking-in on changes and developments to our policy and strategy environment and how this translates to staff support, awareness and actual action on the ground, as verified by communities and partners.
DRC was able to close all Corrective Action Requests (CARs), our identified areas of non-conformity, from the previous 2021 Recertification audit pertaining to Commitment 5. These were closed because we worked hard to strengthen our systems, processes and policies. We have made a lot of progress, including on safeguarding, community-facing feedback mechanisms, localisation, our PCM guidance, revised global MEAL framework and efforts to enhance learning within and external to DRC.
However, Commitment 5 on complaints handling systems is persistent: we have again received new CARs for Commitment 5 about our complaints culture. We have never not had a CAR regarding this Commitment since 2017. This time they concern staff trust and organisational culture rather than the community-facing elements of complaints mechanisms. The main change pertains to staff confidence in DRC's complaints handling (for staff). This was not observed in relation to communities' complaints mechanisms.
The new CARs speak to practice rather than systems, to culture rather than processes – we are progressing upwards to bigger issues. While we have clearly gotten better, again, now we need to tackle deeper, and less tangible issues to continue making progress.
DRC will continue to work unified across regions, HQ and country offices to address these findings. We will develop a corresponding action plan to be routinely monitored to assess progress in closing identified deficiencies.
At DRC, the CHS supports us in implementing our response framework, by ensuring that we put people affected by crisis and displacement at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to be continuously certified.
/ Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council
About the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS)
Launched in 2014, the CHS outlines nine core commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.
It facilitates greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis by ensuring they know what to expect from humanitarian organisations and how to hold them to account.
The CHS also aims to promote the wellbeing, rights, and protection of people affected by crisis and places them at the centre of humanitarian action.
At DRC, the CHS supports us in implementing our response framework, by ensuring that we put people affected by displacement at the heart of everything we do.